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John Roberts Leaving ‘American Morning;’ Show to be ‘more upbeat and faster-paced,’ Ken Jautz says

CNN’s “American Morning” is not only going to be getting a new EP soon, a new anchor will need to be hired as well.

John Roberts will be leaving the show by the end of the year, heading for CNN headquarters in Atlanta where he will be closer to his fiancee, dayside anchor Kyra Phillips who is pregnant. “We are discussing an Atlanta-based reporting role for him,” CNN EVP Ken Jautz writes in an email to staff this morning, obtained by TVNewser.

As we reported earlier, “American Morning” EP Jamie Kraft is also leaving the show for a job at NBC News.

But that’s not all that’s changing at CNN’s morning newscast.

TO: CNN Staff
FROM: Ken Jautz
DATE: December 14, 2010

I want to share some news regarding American Morning, both in terms of personnel and content of the show.

First, we are announcing today that John Roberts will be leaving the morning show by the end of the year, and we are discussing an Atlanta-based reporting role for him. John told me about his desire to be based in Atlanta so as to be near his fiancé and his desire to be able to spend more time reporting in the field on major stories and on documentaries.

Also, Jamie Kraft has accepted a role outside the company. Jamie has been a strong producer for both AC360 and American Morning and a great colleague, and we wish him the very best.

Moreover, we have been making some format changes to the show to make it better suited to the morning and to better reflect the way people view news as they’re getting going with their day. By that I mean I’ve asked for the show to be more upbeat and faster-paced and for us to look carefully at the kinds of stories we’re covering during that daypart. We’ve already started in this direction — you may have noticed fewer long packages and a broader selection of stories and some changes to the set and look of the show — and we’ll be continuing down this path.

I want to make sure we have the right “American Morning family,” as it were and we will be looking at different people alongside Kiran on a rotating basis. Beginning next week, TJ Holmes will be the first to co-anchor with Kiran and you may see some new contributors as well.

I’ve asked Jim McGinnis to take over immediately as the interim EP for American Morning to implement these changes. As most of you probably know, Jim is a long time CNN veteran and has been running key shows and projects for us for many years, so AM will be in good hands with him.

Ken

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